Sebastian Vettel on Thursday denied that Ferrari has lost direction this season. He made the assertions at a press conference at Suzuka ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix (GP).
Vettel said he was hopeful that his Ferrari would fare better at Suzuka than in last week’s showing at Sochi, where the German finished third to allow title rival Lewis Hamilton to open up a 50-point championship lead.
“Well, within a week you can’t do too many things differently, so we hope that the track suits us a bit better and we have a better weekend than in Russia”, the four-time Formula One champion said, reports Efe news.
Asked about the team’s listing season since their disappointment at Monza two races ago, Vettel said: “How do you know about our technical direction? Sorry, but I don’t think it’s true; I don’t think we lost direction. We made progress with our cars.”
Vettel and Ferrari have been left to rue missed opportunities on several occasions this season, when their package has appeared stronger than that of their rival Mercedes, only for the German team and lead driver Lewis Hamilton to pull out winning performances at the Scuderia’s expense.
Vettel, however, denied that Ferrari has consistently had the better car, insisting the difference between them and Mercedes has been minimal.
“I think I’ve said many times that we have a strong car, but I don’t think, against the people’s opinions, that we had a dominant car at any point this year”, the German said.
“I think the highlights that you mentioned or the races that (have been) mentioned, in qualifying we were not ahead. In the race I think it was very close and I think it has been very close all year”.
Although Vettel trails Hamilton by 50 points in the drivers’ championship with just five races left this season, he denied that this Sunday presents his last chance to dent the Briton’s lead and mount a realistic title challenge.
“I don’t like the now or never approach. I don’t think there’s much sense in that”, Vettel said.